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Imam Al-Ghazali's Ihya' 'Ulum Al-Deen

The Narratives

Each book of the Ihya' abounds with these and they are referred to as Athar (later traditions). They relate to narrations by or concerning the Prophets 'alayhimussalam, the Ahl ul Bayt (the blessed Household of our noble Prophet Muhammad Mustafa Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam), the sahaba (his companions), the taabi'een (Followers), the tab'i taabi'een (those who followed the Followers), the mashaayikh (spiritual masters), and the awliya Allah (friends of Allah, sufi saints), those that are well-known as well as those that remain anonymous and hidden. Let us seize this opportunity to go through some of these narratives to gain their flavour as well as blessings. (Translations by Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad, Shaykh Muhtar Holland and Mawlana Fazlul Karim have been used).

1. The entire text of the sermon of Sayyidina AbuBakr Rady Allahu 'Anhu (when the beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam passed away), has been given by al-Qa'qa' ibn 'Amr, who said, """ When the people had finished weeping, Sayyidina AbuBakr stood up before them to preach a sermon, the greater part of which was an invocation of blessings upon the Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam. He praised and glorified Allah for every state (which he might bring about) and then said:

"I bear witness that no one is worthy of worship except Allah, Alone, Who fulfilled His promise, gave victory to His bondsman, and overcame the factions Alone. To Him alone is the praise. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His bondsman and Emissary, and the seal of His Prophets. And I bear witness that the Book is now as it was when revealed and that the Faith is now as it was when laid down, and that the Tradition now is just as it transpired, and that the discourse is just as he uttered it, and that Allah is the manifest Truth.

O Allah! Bless Muhammad, Your bondsman and Emissary, Your Prophet, Your beloved one, trusted one, preferred and chosen, with the most excellent blessings ever granted by You to any one of Your creatures.

O Allah! Bestow Your blessings and protection from harm and Your Mercy and Your Grace upon the Master of the Messengers, the Seal of the Prophets, the Leader of the Godfearing, Muhammad, the Commander and Leader of Good, the Emissary of Mercy.

O Allah! Bring close to You his degree, make mighty his proof, ennoble his rank, and raise him up to a Praiseworthy Station which shall be the envy of the first and the last (of mankind). Grant us the benefit of his Praiseworthy Station on the Day of Arising and supply his place for us in this world and in the the next, and lead him to the Rank and the Means (of intercession) in Heaven.

O Allah! Bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, and grant grace to Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you did grant blessings and grace to Ibraham; truly, You are Praiseworthy, Majestic""". (Ihya', Vol IV, p. 504)

2. One day, Sayyidina 'Umar Rady Allahu 'Anhu exclaimed while delivering a sermon (khutbah): "O you (soldiers) going on the mountain". When he came to know by kashf or "unveiling" of secret knowledge that the enemies were about to surround the Muslim soldiers (who were far away in another land), he cautioned them because he had direct knowledge. Soon his voice reached them. (Ihya', Vol III, p. 27)

3. Hadrat 'AbdAllah ibn Salam Rady Allahu 'Anhu once asked those who had been present at the death agonies suffered by Sayyidina 'Uthman Rady Allahu 'Anhu after he had been wounded."What did Sayyidina 'Uthman Rady Allahu 'Anhu say while he was in his death throes?" "Three times we heard him say", they replied, "O Allah! Unify the nation of Muhammad Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam". (Ihya', Vol IV, p. 507)

4. Sayyidina 'Ali Rady Allahu 'Anhu said, "If I wish, I can load seventy camels with the Tafsir (exegesis) of Surah al-Fateha alone". (Ihya', Vol. I, p. 341)

5. Imam al-Hasan Rady Allahu 'Anhu said: "An unruly riding-beast is in no greater need of a strong bridle than is your soul". (Ihya', Vol. III, p. 71)

6. When Imam al-Hasan ibn 'Ali Rady Allahu 'Anhu became increasingly ill, Imam al-Husayn Rady Allahu 'Anhu entered and said, "O my brother, why do you sorrow? You are going to join Allah's Emissary Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam, and Sayyidina 'Ali ibn Abi Talib Rady Allahu 'Anhu who are your fathers; and Sayyidatina Khadija bint Khuwaylid and Sayyidatina Fatima bint Muhammad Rady Allahu 'Anhuma, who are your mothers, and Hadrat Hamza and Hadrat Ja'far, Rady Allahu 'Anhuma who are your paternal uncles". And he replied, "O my brother! I am going to something the likes of which I have never been to before". (Ihya', Vol IV, p. 509)

7. Sayyidatina Safiyya Rady Allahu 'Anha told of an old woman who once complained to Sayyidatina 'Aisha Rady Allahu 'Anha of the hardness of her heart. "Remember death frequently", she told her, "and your heart will be softened". This she did and her heart was indeed made soft. She went to thank Sayyidatina 'Aisha Rady Allahu 'Anha. (Ihya', Vol IV, p. 479)

8. It is also reported that Hadrat Bilal Rady Allahu 'Anhu and Hadrat Suhaib Rady Allahu 'Anhu approached some Arab families to talk to them (and asked them for women in marriage). They asked them, "Who are you two?" Hadrat Bilal Rady Allahu 'Anhu replied, "I am Bilal and this is my brother Suhaib. We were astray and Allah guided us aright. We were slaves, then Allah freed us. We were poor, them Allah enriched us. If you give us wives, praise be to Allah! If you reject us, glory be to Allah!"

They said, "Of course you two shall marry, and all praise is for Allah!" Then Hadrat Suhaib Rady Allahu 'Anhu said (to Hadrat Bilal Rady Allahu 'Anhu): "You might have mentioned our exploits and that we were among the first with Allah's Messenger Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam". Hadrat Bilal Rady Allahu 'Anhu replied: " Quiet! I spoke the truth and truthfulness has got you married". (Ihya', Vol II, p. 44)

9. Hadrat 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas Rady Allahu 'Anhu was asked, "What is nobility (karam)?", and he replied, "That which Allah has mentioned in His mighty Book: Assuredly, the most noble of you in Allah's sight are the most pious". (49:13) (Ihya', Vol III, p. 57)

10. Hadrat Salman al-Farsi Rady Allahu 'Anhu was asked: "Why do you not put on good clothes?" He replied, "Being a servant, how can I put on good clothes? When I shall be free, Allah will give me such clothes as will never perish". ( Ihya', Vol IV, p. 249)

11. It is said of Imam Zaynul 'Abideen 'Ali ibn al-Husayn Rady Allahu 'Anhu that he used to turn pale when he made his ablution. When his family asked him what came over him during his ablution, he would say, "Do you realise before Whom I wish to stand in prayer?" (Ihya', Vol I, p. 179)

12. Said Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, may Allah shower him with His Mercy, "Whenever I am confronted with a desire, I look to my soul. If it displays desire, I give it something of it, which is better than to deprive it, whereas if it hides its desire, and displays indifference to it, I punish it by abstaining, and do not give it anything at all". Such is the way to punish the soul for this hidden desire". (Ihya', Vol III, p. 107)

13. It is said that whenever Hadrat al-Khidr 'Alayhissalam and Hadrat Elias 'Alayhissalam meet in each season, they never separate without reciting the following:

MaashaaAllahu laa Quwwata illaa Billah
MaashaaAllahu kullu ni'matin minAllah
MaashaaAllahu al-khayru kulluhu Biyadillah
MaashaaAllahu laa yasrifus-sua Illallah

In the Name of Allah
It is what Allah has willed. There is no power except with Allah
It is what Allah has willed. Every grace is from Allah
It is what Allah has willed. All good is with Allah
It is what Allah has willed. No one dispels evil but Allah

He who recites this three times every morning is safe from conflagration, drowning and burglary, if Allah wills. (Ihya', Vol I, p. 374-375)

14. Hadrat Abu Sulayman al-Darani, may Allah shower him with His Mercy, is reported to have said, """Hadrat Uways al-Qarani, may Allah be pleased with him, went on Pilgrimage and entered Madina. He stood at the gate of the Mosque and when he was told, "This is the tomb of the Prophet, Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam", he fell down in a faint""". (Ihya', Vol. I, p. 320)

15. 'Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak, may Allah shower him with his Mercy, said about Imam ul A'zam, Imam Abu Hanifa, may Allah shower him with his Mercy, that he was given the treasures of the world but he fled away from them. Muhammad bin Shuja' narrated to some of his friends that Khalifa Abu Ja'far al-Mansur ordered 10,000 dirhams to be given to the Imam but he declined the offer". (Ihya', Vol. I, p. 39)

16. Humaydi said: Imam Shafi'i, may Allah shower him with His Mercy, once went to Yemen with some of the leaders and returned to Makkah with 10,000 dirhams. A tent was pitched up for him on the outskirts of Makkah and people began to come to him. He did not move from his place until he had distributed all the dirhams he had. (Ihya', Vol I, p. 36)

17. Imam Shafi'i, may Allah shower him with His Mercy, once said, """I saw some Khorasani horses at the door of Imam Malik, may Allah shower him with His Mercy, and I had never seen any other horses better than them. I said to Imam Malik, "How beautiful they look". He said, "They are a present from me to you, O Abu Hamid". I said, "Keep one of them for yourself for riding". He said, "I shall be ashamed before Allah to tread with the hoof of any animal on the soil where lies the Prophet sent by Allah""". Witness then his benevolence and his veneration for the soil of Madina. (Ihya', Vol. I, p. 39)

18. Bishr ibn al-Harith (al-Hafi), may Allah shower him with His Mercy, said: "Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah shower him with His Mercy, is my superior on three counts: he pursues the lawful for others as well as for himself, whereas I seek it for myself alone; he has an expansive approach to marriage whereas my style is cramped; and he has become the Imam of the people". (Ihya', Vol II, p. 26)

19. Rabi'a al-'Adawiya al-Basri, may Allah shower her with His Mercy, said, "Our prayer for forgiveness (istighfaar) needs many prayers for forgiveness". (Ihya', Vol I, p. 371)

20. On the night that he passed away, al-Hasan al-Basri, may Allah make us benefit from him, was seen in a dream. The gates of heaven had been opened and a voice was calling out, "Al-Hasan al-Basri has come to Allah, and He is well-pleased with him!" (Ihya', Vol IV, p. 542).

Hasbunallahu wa ni'mal Wakeel
Allah is Sufficient for us and (He is) the most excellent Trustee (3:173)

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